She has gone from a nine-to-five job to owning her own tattoo parlour and inking people from around the world.
I think everything happens for a good reason,” said Lynda Chean, 29, when talking about how she ended up where she is today.
The tattoo artist and entrepreneur says her recent success all came by chance, after she gave up a career in advertising to pursue her love of art and ink.
About eight years ago, Chean resigned from her job as a copywriter, realising the lifestyle wasn’t suited for her, and went on to manage a tattoo store.
Like most other tattoo artists, Chean started out as an apprentice to another artist, and she had to clean tools, keep the store tidy and practice her craft – mostly on her friends.
“As an apprentice you will do bad tattoos because you don’t know what you’re doing.
“Luckily, when I was doing it, I had a really big group of friends and everybody was fine with whatever I was doing. They just wanted me to have something to practise on.”
After “graduating” from being an apprentice in 2009, Chean had to take time off to be with her family as her father was ill.
“I took a month off just to be at home, and that whole time, I was planning my next step,” she said.
That next step, as fate would have it, was opening her first tattoo studio in Subang Jaya, Selangor, at the tender age of 24.
Today, she has three other artists under her wing at her current parlour in Bangsar, Kuala Lumpur – Pink Tattoos, a whimsical, stylish establishment that has become one of the places to get a tattoo in the Klang Valley.
Her new career has also brought her around the world, including to several tattoo conventions in Europe, and a guest spot at Papanatos Tattoos in The Hague, Holland.
“I’ve always considered myself very lucky because I can take my work with me wherever I go.”
Chean gets invited to some of these conventions, but she also applies for booths at others she wants to attend.
Either way, it all works out for her financially, because even though she has to fund her trips herself, she usually makes her money back with her tattoo work at these conventions.
“Going for conventions is always eye-opening. You get to meet a lot of people and see how things are done in a (foreign) setting.
“It’s fun! You also get to tattoo stuff you probably wouldn’t get to here in Malaysia.”